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davidk's avatar

I lost the love of my life 20 years ago, on Nov. 14. Should I feel guilty as I finally start to let go?

Asked by davidk (1432points) November 12th, 2009

Every time I have tried, because my friends tell me that “walling myself off to love is unhealthy,” it feels like I’m losing a part of me. At 42 years old, I look in the mirror and see a person I don’t know. It is as if, in my mind, I’ve been frozen in time until recently. In my mind’s eye I’m the same person I was on the day she died. Now I’m telling strangers about a person that I normally don’t even admit to my friends is gone. Not talking about her makes it seem like it never happened. I feel a overwhelmingly pathetic. But, the other day, I actually wrote about her on Fluther and it made me feel like the weight of the world was off my shoulders. Now I feel guilty. Should I feel guilty about that?

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14 Answers

trailsillustrated's avatar

did you ever seek grief counseling? it’s really important, and immensely helpful. We all feel very guilty when we lose someone. It would really help you to come to terms with your feelings.

J0E's avatar

Someone important to you died, it is totally understandable to still feel this way. Don’t let your friends “force” you into moving on if your not ready. Feel how you want to feel, not how others tell you to.

- or -

20 years is plenty of time to grieve, meet someone new, and move forward. Life is short, but unfortunately bad things happen in that short time, you can either waste your life obsessing over those things or you can move on.

Choose whichever version works for you.

laureth's avatar

If she loved you anything near the way it sounds like you love her, I bet she would want you to be happy. I don’t think I’d want my husband to be sad for the rest of his life if I died, because I can’t stand to see him sad in the here-and-now. If he grieved, and then the sadness melted, I’d be glad for him.

wundayatta's avatar

There is no “should” here. You either do feel guilty or you don’t. My hope for you is that you don’t. You’ve borne enough already.

I am pretty sure you are never going to forget her, nor are you ever going to dishonor her. I wonder if you have not tried again because you are afraid the same thing will happen again? Or if you feel guilty because you feel like, in some way, you caused her death? Or if depression has made you blame yourself for everything that happened, and made you punish yourself for whatever sin you imagine you committed.

The only way to figure anything out is to do what @trailsillustrated suggested, and get grief counseling. Now listen. I know I have no right to do this, but I want you to give up your guilt. You may need help, but I want you to get help if you need it. I want you to take a leap of faith that, even though she was the love of your life, there is another love of your life for you.

Human beings are wonderful, blessed creatures (at least, to other humans), and there are so many wonderful people out there to love and to be loved by. A person as loyal as you will have no trouble finding one. I’ll bet there are a dozen already waiting for you to be ready. And if not, it doesn’t matter. You will be experiencing other people again, as you did back when you met her. That is good all on it’s own, even if you don’t find the right person.

So please, get some help. Let go of your guilt. You’ve served a long enough sentence. It’s time for a new part of your life.

ubersiren's avatar

It’s okay if you do feel guilty, but you don’t have to feel bad for, well, moving on- I don’t think you’re letting go, really. You’ll never truly let go because she was a huge meaningful chunk of your life. Perhaps you’re finally starting to deal with it a little bit. It is possible to honor her memory and cope at the same time.

Perhaps you could take some time and try dating. You don’t have to commit to anyone or do anything you’re uncomfortable with. But, no harm can come from going on an adventure from time to time. Feel it out and see what it’s like. You’ll never know what the world has to offer you if you hide from it! I wish you so much happiness.

augustlan's avatar

I saw what you wrote about her the other day… It was a beautiful and moving tribute, and the love you felt for her was tangible. She must have known that back then, too. She probably wouldn’t want you to feel guilty about rejoining the world of the living. If you do feel guilty, please get some counseling so you can work your way through it. The world still has much to offer you, you only need embrace it. I wish you the best of luck on this journey. :)

whatthefluther's avatar

Feeling guilt is understandable and natural, but you can not continue to rip yourself apart. I’ve experienced such a loss..,..two actually. I pushed myself to look at things in reverse. If I had passed wouldn’t I want my love to open her heart again and find a happiness as wonderful as we had shared? I can think of no better way for her to celebrate my life, to honor the special relationship we nurtured and enjoyed and as an acknowledgement of the deep love we shared. My wonderful wife will be facing my passing before too long and nothing is more troubling to me than the thought that she would live in our past and not open her heart again and would evade finding happiness. She deserves so much better and I pray she finds the strength, with the support of friends and professionals, if necessary, to live a full and happy life, post me.
I’m keyboard is crapping out.,I’l try to repair and return. Sorry.

Basketcase's avatar

You are not alone.

I remember it like it was yesterday. His amazing green eyes and warm hug that no matter what was going on sheltered me from the world around me. I can hear laughter and see his sly little grin. Shy and yet when drawn into a passionate argument he was as articulate and as tenacious as a bull terrier. I remember his touch, laugh and his embrace. Watching him listening to music and observing the involuntary way he played along, making the chords on his knee with his fingers. I remember every band he was in and our small church wedding. I remember our first home and barbecuing in the snow. I remember every inch of him from the scar on his hip from skateboarding as a kid to the birthmark on the sole of his foot. I hear his voice in my mind and and his laughter. I can see him playing with our black Labrador and remember the chilly nights outside with the telescope- him patiently finding stars and planets for me to see.

I swear sometimes that the memories are so real that I could walk into them and yet they are locked from me- behind the thick glass of time. I can see him hear him but I cannot touch… and what I see is only replays of what once was. For a while I tried to hope it was not true. Thinking, despite touching his face in death, that through a cosmic mistake that defied all reason he might just show up. I remember his face was cold and pale.

It took time to allow myself to feel and open up to love again. I had a very hard time letting anyone inside my heart which I locked up like a fortress. Then I met another gentleman with beautiful blue eyes. He was patient and loving wish a great laugh and wonderful way of making me feel safe and alive. I now can honestly say that I love him as much as my first love.

Perhaps it will help you to know that nobody can ever replace your first love. It is as if your heart just gets bigger. She is and always will be everything she always was to you. If you open yourself up to love again you will see that it is not a disrespect to your past to be happy. Both my husbands hold my heart. Both do so in different ways. Each relationship is different and beautiful. I am happy again. Truly happy. I am loved and cherished and love and cherish in return.

I cannot tell you anything beyond what I have experienced myself- that beyond all my expectations in life I did get a second chance to love and took it. I find it hard to believe that my first spouse would not have wanted my hapiness. Had I been the one who died I would not wish him to be alone.

You deserve to join the living Davidk. You can honor your past love by embracing life if you choose.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Basketcase That was very beautiful. Thank you.

laureth's avatar

Wow, @Basketcase, I’m tearing up.

HummerLady1950's avatar

I feel like the person I was died the day my husband died. I am going on 4 years without
him and am starting to try somethings. I had 2 one even close. I think I had my one and only soulmate. To this day I sometimes feel guility when I laugh. I have to remind myself, he would want me to be happy. The big question is do I wamt to allow myself to be.

augustlan's avatar

@HummerLady1950 Please do allow yourself some happiness. Welcome to Fluther, too!

HummerLady1950's avatar

I am trying to. I spent 35 of my 60 years with him

john65pennington's avatar

David, this is what friends are for. We are good listeners and attempt to give the best advice we can, based strictly on our own personal occurances.

I have never been in your shoes, but I am still married to a wonderful wife of many years.

I can only imagine how you feel. My brother lost his daughter and his wife and I honestly do not know how he copes from day to day. He is a strong person.

Strictly my opinion here, but I think 20 years is long enough to suffer as you. I said this before and was critized for it, but what the heck, here goes, one day you will again see her in heaven. Just keeping thinking of that day.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your life here on earth. Find someone else to share the time you have left. Your wife, I think, would have wanted you to do this, so not to be lonely. jp

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